With his latest decision to delay Ken Paxton’s trial and move it out of Collin County, Judge George Gallagher has shown that the fix is in against the Attorney General.
At a hearing last week, Gallagher granted an unprecedented motion filed by the special prosecutors in Paxton’s case to give them more time to prepare for trial and to move the trial out of Collin County. The decision has effectively denied Paxton his constitutional rights to a speedy trial and to a jury of his peers.
Paxton’s defense team has filed a motion for rehearing, demonstrating that Gallagher’s decision was totally devoid of an evidentiary basis and constituted an abuse of discretion.
But unless the court of appeals intervenes on the venue shift or in a related case over payments to the Paxton special prosecutors, the trial is likely to be moved to Dallas County. That would mean that Collin County taxpayers would be on the hook for millions for a prosecution brought by Houston criminal attorneys in front of a Tarrant County Judge and a Dallas County jury.
At the same hearing, Gallagher chose to ignore new evidence relating to the prosecutors’ abuse of the grand jury process in procuring indictments against Paxton. Instead, he alleged an “ethical problem” stemming from a routine political fundraiser held three years prior and attended by a variety of Collin County officials, including Paxton.
The motion to transfer venue filed by special prosecutors Brian Wice and Kent Schaffer contained absurd allegations that “Team Paxton” – a group made up of all of the special prosecutors’ critics across the state on social media – were engaged in a conspiracy to “taint” the jury pool in Collin County. It contained no evidence relating to the standard they should have been required to prove in such a motion – namely that a trial could not safely be held in Collin County.
Nonetheless, Judge Gallagher granted the motion and violated Paxton’s rights.
In doing so, Gallagher has proven that he is fully in the tank with the special prosecutors and is uninterested in impartially fulfilling his duty to see that justice is done. The fix is in, and Texans should expect to see the process abused even further as the Paxton case moves forward.
The prosecution of Ken Paxton is a travesty and an embarrassment to the Texas criminal justice system. It is time Texans stand up and demand those officials and judges with the power to end this miscarriage of justice do so.